NASA’s Mars Rover, Curiosity, achieved a unique feat on March 24, 2020. The rover was able to finish a milestone climb by rolling up the Greenheugh Pediment.
Curiosity’s achievement is remarkable, especially with the challenge of a 31-degree tilt for the rover during the climb.
The only previous rover to have experienced such tilt was the Opportunity rover. It achieved the 32-degree tilt in 2016, setting a record.
Selfie on Mars
However, the record-breaking feat of the Curiosity rover is not the only thing that’s making news! Apparently, almost 11 feet prior to reaching the broad rock sheet on top of the Greenheugh Pediment, the Curiosity rover stopped to do something amazing.
It captured a 360-degree panorama with the rover’s cameras capturing 86 images for creating the panoramic selfie.
The selfie taken by the Curiosity rover also gives a peek into the hole drilled by it in the bedrock. Interestingly, the name of the hole is “Hutton”.
Curiosity Rover took these images on February 26, 2020 and completed the climb after three different drives, on March 6, 2020.
The Mechanics that got it there!
NASA’s Curiosity rover has its drivers on Earth at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena, California. The drivers plan every drive carefully for maintaining the rover in safe condition. According to NASA, the wheel system of Curiosity Rover is ideal for withstanding even a 45-degree tilt. However, steep climbs can result in the wheels spinning in place. So, the Curiosity rover has six aluminum wheels with grooves for maintaining stability on the surface of Mars.
A video released by NASA, showing how the Curiosity rover takes a selfie, makes this landmark event more intriguing. This milestone also marks the promising use of the Mars Hand Lens Camera or MAHLI on the Curiosity rover.
A few years back, the Greenheugh Pediment was too far and now our Curiosity got there. Seems like there are lot of opportunities left to explore!